American freed after she was kidnapped and held for 8 months in Mexico


An American kidnapped in Mexico and held by his captors for eight months was released late Friday and is safe, FBI officials said Saturday.

Monica De Leon Barba, of San Mateo County, California, just south of San Francisco, was abducted while walking home from work with her dog in Tepatitlán, Mexico, on November 29, the office said Saturday.

Although it is not clear what precipitated the release, work for his freedom was a constant focus during De Leon Barba’s ordeal, the office said.

“Over the past eight months, FBI personnel in California and Mexico have worked tirelessly with the family and with partners here and in Mexico,” Robert Tripp, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco office, said in a statement. «Our relief and joy at Monica’s safe return is profound.»

Monica De Leon Beard.fbi san francisco

No information was available on his kidnappers, and the FBI did not mention drug cartels when reporting the case. Cartels have been linked to the rise of kidnapping as a criminal enterprise in Mexico.

De Leon Barba’s brother said NBC Bay Area that the FBI said that demands were made in his kidnapping. The FBI has not previously commented on any lawsuit.

In April, the FBI published two security camera videos of the kidnapping of De Leon Barba by suspects using multiple vehicles. The office said it hoped the videos would prompt witnesses to come forward with details of what they saw of her when they abducted her off a street, leaving her dog behind. Relatives later recovered the dog.

«No arrests have been made, and an investigation into the identity of their captors is ongoing,» the San Francisco FBI said in its statement Saturday.

Andres Blankstein contributed.

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